Friday, December 28, 2012

Go-With-Everything Celery Root Puree

Who knew ?  Dorie - that's who.
  Per Tricia~
I learned two wonderful things this week. 
First, Nana explained to me that I could simply go online to our
 local Wegman's to search their inventory. Yes, I could confirm 
from my warm  kitchen that they indeed had those celery roots 
before I even had to start the car. Way to go Nana !! 
 The second thing I learned I owe to Dorie.  
That horrible looking celery roots can be tamed into a lovely mash 
that is sweet, delicious and has a surprisingly lovely celery flavor. As 
I skinned  the root I had my doubts that I would ever do this again,
 or want to- but I have to admit that the dish was truly wonderful.  
All of my guys thought it was amazing and have asked for me
 to make it again.  Now that I just click onto the local grocery
 store........thanks Nana and Dorie !! 
Per Nana~
How can something so ugly turn into something so tasty?
I have never used celery root before, did not even know 
what it looked like until I searched Wegman's website to
 see if they even carried it. With the potato and onions added
 to it, this really turned into a lovely side dish.

I plan to serve it tonight with a mini choucroute, sauerkraut,
 mini franks and kielbasa.  After a week of cleaning, cooking and
 eating fish, a good dish of choucroute is going to taste mighty good.
The recipe is really quick and easy.

I would like to add a picture of a recipe for Crab Louis that I made
 for our Christmas Eve feast of seven fishes.  I took the recipe off
 the internet ,  I believe it came from Wolfgang Puck.  It was so 
simple to make and looked so elegant. I used this as our first course,
 and I think everyone truly loved it.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, and hubby and I
 enjoyed the card exchange very much.
Looking forward to cooking with everyone in 2013.  

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cheez-it-ish Crackers

They had us at "Cheez".........

Per Nana ~

About a month ago hubby had a request for one of my old recipes 
called "Atwells's Delight".  It's a Tex-Mex style recipe calling 
for canned cream soups, enchilada sauce, chopped meat, etc.
AND Velveeta cheese.

Unfortunately, I did not look over the recipe before shopping so 
when I saw Velveeta I just picked up the box.  (2 lbs). 

So far, in addition to the above recipe, I have made cheesy eggs,
 baked macaroni, etc. When this week's recipe came up I decided 
that maybe I could substitute the Velveeta instead of  Dorie's  
suggestions of Gruyere or Emmenthal.
 It might not have been the flavor that she had in mind -
 but they were very, very tasty. The crackers were flaky, like Cheez-its, 
and with the so called cheddar flavor they were  so delicious.

I have to admit that they could have been a little thinner and I
 will attempt to do that the next time I make them.
These will definitely be a repeat in our house.
Per Tricia~
Wow.  We all LOVED this, which should not come as a huge surprise.
 I even closed the book so my guys would not see the title of this recipe.
 They figured it out regardless.  Gastronomy scale aside, we are big fans of 
"Cheez-Its"...with a special affection for the white cheddar variety.  Which, 
thanks to Dorie, I replicated and improved upon in my kitchen this week. 

 Along with her recommendation that cheddar does wonderfully, I christened 
the new Cabot cheddar we got on our last trip to Vermont.

The taste was rich and truly less salty than the version that comes
 in the box. I mentioned to my family, who were gobbling these as fast
 as they could, that the herbed olives I recently made from FFWD would be 
lovely with this and all agreed HEARTILY. Truthfully I think I could have
 gotten them to agree to just about anything at this point but the combo
 is a great one.  And I will have many chances to test it as this recipe 
is so quick and easy that I am planning to make it many, many times. 
 I already have another batch on hand in the freezer. 

 While I played with cutting shapes like a holiday cookie -
 which truly went very quickly and I assure you I am quite Dorie 
suggested in the "Bonne Idee"- the simple log cut outs were lovely as well.

The holiday root canal is now behind me and we are playing catch up 
with the "non Dorie" cards and gifts, work, blogs and comments.  Nana is 
busy preparing for the "Feast  of the Seven Fish" and we continue to enjoy
 the gorgeous holiday cards we receive from our fellow Doristas.  
Happiest of holidays and  warm regards to all ~

Monday, December 17, 2012

Chicken, Apples and Creme a la Normande

Better late than never.....

Per Nana~

The combination of the ingredients in this recipe were good, 
the aroma while cooking was fantastic, and the plated dish 
was impressive, however I really did not like it. 

First, I  do not care for chicken in any form lately, maybe, 
because that was always a go to meal when you had know idea 
what else to prepare.  Secondly, I think if I opened a can of Campbell's 
cream of mushroom soup, added apples and brandy, it would have
 been quicker. That said, I know I will not attempt this one again.
I  am curious to see what everyone else has to say, since we 
all have different tastes regarding these recipes.
On to the cheez-it-ish crackers......

Per Tricia~
Sorry all but I am down for the count with an abscessed tooth :( 
 Didn't get the recipe done and fell behind posting 
Nana's results (sorry Nana !!)
I do want to add a positive note and it is a big one. 
 The FFWD Holiday Card exchange has been AMAZING. 
 I am so pleased that Nana and I decided to participate in this.
  It has been extra special to share "snail mail" with our Friday 
Friends from around the world. Granted, I still haven't gotten 
my regular cards out yet, but such is life......

Happy French Friday Monday !

Friday, December 7, 2012

Creamy Cauliflower Soup & Catching up on Beef Daube

A double hitter this week.  Nana was caught up, as usual, but a business trip put me behind a week.  Our families still enjoyed two great recipes......

Per Nana:
Creamy Cauliflower Soup Sans Cream~
The perfect soup for a cold winter's night. 
As I was reading the P & Q section I noticed that Cher
 suggested using crumbled bacon in the soup and
 someone mentioned Cheez-it-ish crackers  on top.

The bacon was easy, but  Cheez-it-ish crackers were hard to find
..... since we ate them all last week. They were so good, but I'll save
 that for another time. I did grate a bit of Swiss cheese on top 
that gave it such a lovely flavor.
I used the food processor to puree the soup and it turned out so smooth.
 I did add a pinch of cayenne pepper to it just because I love it.
The soup was quite good and I was disappointed that I had halved the 
recipe, but I will certainly be preparing this again.  It's amazing 
that a few simple ingredients that are usually on hand can turn
 out to be such a wonderful dish.

Beef Cheek Daube with Carrots & Elbow Macaroni~
First, let me say I wish I had my camera with me at Wegman's 
when I asked one of the butchers if they carried beef cheeks.
The look on this young man's face was hilarious, I believe he
 thought I was pulling his leg. Since it is difficult to find a real butcher
 shop in our area that would even carry anything as unusual
as beef cheeks, I decided to just go with a chuck roast.

The recipe is really a snap, very little preparation other than browning
 the meat and veggies. Add all the other ingredients and in the oven it
 goes for around 2 hours. I will admit that the chuck had to be trimmed
 quite a bit, so I had more than 4 pieces of meat. Actually, it  looked
 pretty much  like stew meat when I finished.  (I'm very picky about grizzle)
I used the Syrah wine as Dorie suggests and thought it all blended 
well.  After two hours it was so tender and delicious.  I added 
the chocolate which was not overpowering at all.  
Hubby kept raving about the meat and the delicious flavor. 
My first thoughts about adding elbow macaroni was that it would 
not work.  I guess when I think pot roast, I think of potatoes.  But
 Dorie was right again, and this was perfect.
Per Tricia:
Creamy Cauliflower Soup Sans Cream~
Long post so I will keep this short. We LOVED this.

 Easy and amazing. As Nana said- the recipe took very ordinary items
 and made them very special. We sprinkled cheese and cob smoked bacon
 from the Wallingford Locker on top.   YUM !!  This is one of my favorite 
FFWD recipes  to date and plan to revisit it very often this winter.......

Beef Cheek Daube with Carrots & Elbow Macaroni~
True story. I crank out the FFWD recipes on more Thursday evenings than
 I would care to admit, but such is life. Two weeks ago got particularly crazy 
with a week long business trip.  I would have just done it late, but the
 "special" beef (not cheek, however) that I bought while visiting 
Wallingford, Vermont was already defrosting. The clock was ticking. 

So for the first time ever....I asked my guys to make the 
recipe while I was away and handle the "Dorie Food". 


Nana lends a hand all the time but for this occasion my husband and
 two sons tackled the task and emailed me back their opinions.  It 
was hilarious and very cool.  My guys did not find the chocolate to
 be a worthy addition, so we will not be combining this flavor with beef
 in the near future. But they actually still all loved the recipe and raved
 about the quality of the meat, which does not surprise me. It's very
 heartwarming to discuss cuts of meat with the owner of butcher 
store in a small town and get his opinion. He did not have cheek,
 but raved about how tender it is. He thought long and hard and suggested
 shoulder as  a substitute.  I jumped on it.  While I am not sure they will 
be up for contributing on a more frequent basis- this time was a hoot for all. 

 Happy French Fridays !

Friday, November 23, 2012

Herbed Olives

So simple and so special ~

Per Nana~
There is nothing in my book that makes a house smell so delicious 
as olive oil and garlic warming on the stove. Add a few coriander 
seeds, fennel seeds and black pepper corns, what's not to like.
This almost seemed to me to be more of an Italian specialty
 than French. Either way, we loved it. I used what was available in 
my pantry, stuffed green olives and a can of pitted black olives.
Now that I tried and loved the recipe, I am going to try some pitted 
Kalamata olives and other types of olives to vary the recipe.
This would make a wonderful addition to any anti pasta selection.
It also reminded me of the little dishes of olives that were served to 
 us in Portugal along with some delicious breads.

Per Tricia~
Loved everything about this. 
Simple, easy to find (or have on hand ingredients), great aroma 
when preparing, keeps for a while and tastes delish. I was surprised
 to read that the spices were to be warmed in a dry pan. 
I re-read that part of the recipe several times. Just as Dorie said,
 the warmed dry ingredients created a lovely aroma.
 A winner all around. And with a busy Thanksgiving week-
 the ease of this recipe was especially appreciated.  
Hope all the Doristas had a lovely holiday !

Friday, November 16, 2012

Goat Cheese Mini Puffs

Lovely and delicious !

Per Nana~

This week's recipe from "Around My French Table" is goat-cheese 
mini puffs. Much practice is needed on my part to perfect a cream
 puff that looks like a puff, but I am going to keep trying.
The recipe was fun  and the filling was so delicious.
I used a garlic flavored goat cheese mixed with the cream
 cheese and cream. Even though my puffs came out in different 
shapes and sizes they were good.

After filling about 24 puffs, ( a messy job all by itself)  I decided to 
share some with Tricia's family.  As much as we loved them, I could 
not see eating that many.
These little morsels would be great to serve with a glass of wine, and 
the delicious herbed olives selected for next week's entry.

Per Tricia~
Spoiler alert. Nana made these ahead of time and shared them with
 my guys. My older son declared-"wow. I like these way more than I should"
...which struck me as an odd, yet very positive declaration on a Dorie recipe.  
Needless to say, I was then on the hook to make some myself this week. 
 The recipe is a few steps but if I would get  organized and keep some of 
these in the freezer ready to bake, it would really be a spectacular treat.  
I would definitely make these for company (but ahead of time)
 since they were yummy as well as impressive looking.
I am also sharing belated photos from our recent trip to Vermont - 
at least the "foodie" side, plus our new addition........

Cafe Provence in Brandon, Vt- amazing restaurant with cooking classes.

Small town ambiance. And great French food !

The kitchen where my son and I took a class. Each demo was so delicious we then went to the restaurant for a full meal :)

Cider Donuts en route to Saratoga New York. A fall "must".
Can't get  'em any fresher !

The Orchard was packed- we lucked onto a true cider donut destination at the height of the season !

Orchard treats

Functional and adorable signs at local farms, showing their wares.

Amazing local market- best bacon ever, and ham, and cob smoked kielbasa...and so on. Love.

Recent addition- "Oliver"

Curious pug- note the protective eye gear for kitten greeting :)
                                        Happy French Friday !